BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke return to competitive action on Saturday with the visit of Frome Town in the first league match of the 2017/18 season. After a pre-season which saw five wins from seven first team matches and twenty four goals scored, Basingstoke set out on the league campaign aiming for an improvement on their 12th place finish. After an 8th place finish last season, Frome will be looking for another impressive season after exceeding expectations last year. Visiting manager Josh Jeffries will be working with most of the same players that had Frome on the fringes off the playoffs, with the addition of three new signings in defender Ben Withey and midfielders Chas Hemmings and Joe Raynes who will all be hoping to play their part at the weekend.
Basingstoke managed just one point from the two meetings last season as a neat finish from Aaron Jarvis secured a 1-1 draw at Frome on Boxing Day in a match that saw Joe Gater sent off late on. That game followed a 3-1 home defeat in August, Sam Deadfield scoring a consolation goal for Basingstoke.
After another summer of change, Dan Bayliss, Jordan Goater, Harry Long, Colm McAdden, Charlie McCann, Kieron Rodgers and Sam Smart have all joined the club and will be hoping to make their competitive bows for the first team while the return of Ben Wright will boost an attack that ranked thirteenth in the league with 65 goals. George Bennett, Charlie Kennedy, Aaron Jarvis, Marcus Johnson-Schuster and Will Shaw will be looking to continue where they left off with strong finishes last season. The newly re-signed Deadfield and Ashleigh Artwell will miss out on Saturday’s opener with injuries.
BY NICK WILSON
Frome got their season off to the perfect start at the Camrose, punishing Basingstoke for a poor start before running out 3-1 winners.
It took just eight minutes for the visitors to hit the front after two chances had already gone begging for Darren Jeffries. Jon Davies’ corner found Marcus Johnson-Schuster waiting to clear at the near post but the Basingstoke captain inadvertently sliced the ball into his own net.
The hosts struggled to get a foothold in the match as Frome kicked on after the opening goal and the lead was doubled on 20 minutes. A low cross from the right crept through to Jake Jackson at the near post and the Robins top scorer from last season opened his account for this year, swivelling to volley past Colm McAdden.
As the first half reached its latter stages, Basingstoke began to assert themselves, forcing several corners while Ben Wright hit a swerving free kick from long range that away goalkeeper Kyle Phillips just about managed to deflect past the post.
HALF TIME: 0-2
Basingstoke started where they left of as the second half began with Aaron Jarvis being bundled over in the six yard area while waiting to pounce on a loose ball, allowing Wright to thump home from the spot to halve the deficit just three minutes after the break. From then Basingstoke continued to push for a second goal. Shane Hollamby and Wright spurned glorious chances to equalise before Frome broke away to score a killer third goal.
Jon Davies added to an excellent individual performance by riding his luck to beat two challenges before lashing the ball emphatically into the roof of the net, leaving McAdden with no chance. The third goal took the sting out of the game and visibly knocked Basingstoke as they struggled to find a way back into the match. The referee turned down two penalty appeals in the last half an hour as Frome saw out the victory and ensured a repeat of the result from the same fixture last year.
FULL TIME: 1-3
Basingstoke team: Colm McAdden; Marcus Johnson-Schuster (c), Shane Hollamby, Dan Bayliss, George Bennett; Dan Collier, Charlie Kennedy, Sam Smart, Ben Wright, Cameron Green (Conor Davis); Aaron Jarvis.
Subs not used: Charlie McCann, Jordan Goater, Will Shaw.
Frome team: Kyle Phillips; Kris Miller, Sam Teale (c), Marcus Mapstone, Ben Withey; Rob Hobbs, Joe Raynes, Ollie Knight (Ryan Bath), Jon Davies, Darren Jeffries (Mike Bryant); Jake Jackson (Ben Griffiths).
Subs not used: Mitchell Page, Ollie Price.